What Is a Sales Pipeline and How Does It Work?

What Is a Sales Pipeline and How Does It Work?
Yana Zatsarnaya
November 12, 2021
Last updated: November 12, 2021

If you’ve ever tried contacting your customers one by one with little sticky notes to keep track, you’ll have worked out by now that the technique is fraught with issues. From the time it takes to sift and sort through your users to the inevitable lost contacts and missed phone calls, you simply can’t stick with methods that aren’t working.

But help is at hand! As part of Bitrix24’s CRM, you can revolutionize your customer journey with a clear, logical workflow.

We’re sure that whatever your line of business, a well-formed selling structure will help you organize your tasks, analyze your strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately boost your sales. In this article, we’ll answer the questions “what is a sales pipeline?”, “how does it work?”, and much more.


What is a sales pipeline?


Put simply, a sales pipeline is the journey you want your customers to follow from before they’ve even heard of you to the moment of sale and beyond. Crucially, it allows you to organize and track all of your customers at the same time, so you can grow alongside your customer base.

The sales pipeline stages let you visualize each step your customers take and the appropriate action you and your team need to take to move them on to the next stage.


How to build a sales pipeline


Start by asking yourself: what is a sales pipeline in my context? What would the journey look like and which departments would be involved?


Set your goals

First, consider what you want to achieve. Usually this is a confirmed deal, but you can use your pipeline more abstractly for things like event attendance or anything else you consider a goal.

With your objective in mind, you can think about who you need to target and how you can best serve them throughout the process.


Identify your customers

Next, it’s time to take all your potential customers and put them in your CRM. Be sure to include all the information you have; you may need to cover emails, telephone, and social media for the best results.

Bitrix24’s sales intelligence also allows you to segment your customer base if you’d like to set up multiple pipelines for each group.


Map out the journey

Finally, you need to set the stages of your pipeline. These are synonymous with the tasks your team carries out and can involve different team members or even whole departments. Imagine a reduced pipeline: emails from the marketing team, a call from sales, and an invoice from admin.

With the right tools, this is where the magic really kicks off. With your goal set and your tasks and your clients on one platform, you can watch users as they pass through the stages you’ve set up.


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What tools will my pipeline need?


It’s not good enough to just make a workflow and watch the sales start flying in. You have to put in a bit of hard work.

Having said that, Bitrix24 comes with all the features you could need to perfect your customer experience. There are a vast amount of communication channels from social media and instant messenger to phone calls and video calls.

What is a sales pipeline without automated emails though? By setting up sequences of messages, you can drip feed your customers without taking up any of your team’s time. Include some enticing calls to action and you’ll see those numbers start bumping up.


Can I streamline my sales process?


As we mentioned before, automated emailing can save you a load of time, but it doesn’t stop there. Bitrix24 lets you automate in a whole host of other areas, such as automatically assigning new leads to different team members and setting up subsequent tasks in an instant. As a manager, you can save yourself these small, yet time-consuming admin tasks and focus on optimizing your pipeline.

Taking a step back from the customer-facing side, you can streamline your internal processes by automatically setting up reports and importing new contacts and exporting them to other systems if needed.


How do you get an overview of your sales pipeline?


Take a look at Bitrix24’s sales funnel technology and you get a dashboard of the potential deals that are in progress and at what stage of your pipeline they are at. If you notice that a lot of leads are getting stuck at a certain stage, you can try testing new approaches or even include new steps to make your sales pipeline as efficient as it can be.

On the internal side, you can see who in your team performs best at specific stages and allocate tasks accordingly. Forget the guesswork; you get solid data on everybody’s strengths and weaknesses.

Use your analytics to see activity and sales by agent, sales pipeline, leads by stage, or get into granular detail by customizing your own fields for your reports.


Take the stress out of quotes and invoices


By using automations, you can speed up the easy processes. With customizable elements, you can adapt everyday tasks to meet your company’s specific needs.

Bitrix24’s quotes and invoices allow you to put your own branding on the documents you send to your clients, and modify each of the fields to suit your business. You can also apply flexible taxes and discounts for when you want to put on special offers, or sell abroad in line with local tax laws. This flexibility also applies to your products. You can automatically add items to your quotes and invoices from a predefined list, or act yourself and add items manually.

Every invoice you issue will be saved in your CRM so you can access them at the end of the month or whenever you need.


Organize your projects like your pipeline


So you’ve got your stages set up, but that doesn’t mean every task will be done efficiently. With Bitrix24, your sales pipeline software is connected to your project management software so you can undertake all of your internal tasks in the sleekest way possible.

This is where you’ll create your tasks, set your deadlines, and automate reminders for when you get really busy.

Speaking of reminders, they’ll all pop up on your team’s calendars, to keep everything in line. You can also get a Gantt chart view for a quick, visual confirmation of whether you can squeeze your tasks into your working hours.


Some final tips


Remember that there is no definitive answer to “what is a sales pipeline?”. Your approach should evolve regularly when new communication methods appear, when the style of your content needs a refresh, and when your sales intelligence tells you something isn’t working.

Another key aspect of Bitrix24’s sales pipeline management is that you can use it from wherever you are. You get  main tools available on iOS and Android, so whether you’re a travelling team or you just want to catch up with things away from the desk, you’re covered.


Set up your pipelines and streamline your team!


That question, “what is a sales pipeline?”, is a lot easier to answer now, right?

However, this is where the work starts. If you haven’t already, sign up for Bitrix24, follow the steps above about building a sales pipeline and you’ll soon find you have a lot more time on your hands.

 Now all of those improvements you’ve never had the time to make are within your grasp.

 

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